Of all the science centers I have visited - and I have visited a fair few - the ARS Electronic Center in Linz, where I went yesterday, ranks among the best. It is truly a museum of the future, not quite like any I have seen in the past. My first stop was the "Out of Control" exhibit, where the question is asked: how much does the Internet know about you? (The answer: a whole lot more than you realise.) Next was the GeoPulse exhibit, where fancy visualisation systems allow you to explore both present and future cities around the world. And I do mean fancy - I almost felt compelled to pull out my phone and check whether it was still only 2014 , because I had the sneaking suspicion that I might have jumped forwards a few decades.
A large section of the center is devoted to exploration of the human body. I usually approach such exhibits with tempered anticipation, especially the bits about perception and the brain. As much as I love such things, too often I find myself disappointed because none of it is new to me. Yes, I realise that one cannot expect to learn much from an all-ages museum exhibit after completing a PhD on the topic. That's why I was so pleasantly surprised at the level of information conveyed at the ARS Electronica. I actually learned things! And - this is truly awesome - I had a high-quality photo taken of my retina.
The pride and joy of the center seems to be the Deep Space theater, which displays 3D images at extremely high resolution on a 16 x 9 meter wall (plus the floor). They do all sorts of presentations on astronomy, extreme sports, art, various locations of interest around the world, etc. The show I went to was pretty amazing for the first three minutes. After that I'm not sure. I had to close my eyes because ohmygod the motion-sickness.
The other thing unique to the center are the InfotrainerInnen. A handful of guides are stationed in each section and will cheerfully offer assistance with the exhibits and answer your questions. My guy must have been eager to practice his English or something, because I basically got a personal tour of half the floor and a discussion on the philosophy of science.